Tampa's Donatello's Italian honors late owner's tradition of feeding foster kids on Thanksgiving

This year, the luncheon will host 1200 Tampa community families.

click to enlarge On Thanksgiving, Kitty Daniels (far left, front) joins the family of late Donatello Italian restaurant owner Guido Tiozzo (second from left, front) in welcoming Tampa foster kids to have a Thanksgiving meal. - C/O DONATELLO
C/O DONATELLO
On Thanksgiving, Kitty Daniels (far left, front) joins the family of late Donatello Italian restaurant owner Guido Tiozzo (second from left, front) in welcoming Tampa foster kids to have a Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving Day is a time to reconnect with extended family, loved ones who have traveled into town, and your sibling who is away at college but needs their laundry done, plus a hot meal. But what about for individuals without families? 

In 1987, the late-local restauranteur Guido Tiozzo, of Donatello Italian Restaurant, linked up with then-Tampa Mayor Sandy Freedman (the city's first female mayor) and created a tradition to help those who could use a warm embrace from their community. That tradition was hosting Thanksgiving for the foster children of Tampa.

Over the last three decades Tiozzo — a Venice, Italy-born immigrant who died in at the age of 82 in May of this year — closed Donatellos' doors to the public and opened them for the underprivileged. When word spread, so did the involvement with organizations wanting to lend a helping hand. In the last decade, Donatello has welcomed thousands of people on turkey day. On Thursday, the Thanksgiving tradition will be carried on by the Tiozzo family and staff.

“This year, Guido will not be with us to wait on the children and the mothers and the fathers who will enjoy a regular Thanksgiving dinner but his wish was to share this day with the Tampa community, will be his legacy for the years to come,” the family said in a release.

This year, a traditional Thanksgiving Luncheon will be served to as many as 1200 Tampa community families including children of all ages from organizations like Boys and Girls Club, Hispanic Council, Children Cancer Center, Life Enrichment Center, Eckerd Community Alternative, and R.I.C.H. Police Program.

From 10:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. the day will be loaded with festivities including live holiday tunes provided by Bay area jazz legends Kitty Daniels and Majid Shabazz, actors playing characters of children's tales, and gifts for every guest handed out by volunteers alongside former Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Want to know everything going on with Tampa Bay's food and drink scene? Sign up for our Bites newsletter.

Scroll to read more Food News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]